Francis Ford Coppola's daughter who can make some good stuff when she wants to.
The Virgin Suicides (1999) -- I like what this movie is going for: four boys trying to find clues to solve the mystery of why five beautiful young girls would commit suicide all at once. Sometimes the movie works, like when we see the boys actually puzzling things out, trying to figure out the girls, etc. But a big chunk of the movie is just a regular teen movie with a slightly more spooky mood, with too much time spent on a romance with Josh Hartnett that ultimately goes nowhere. If the movie actually gave us, the audience, something to puzzle out as well (even though in the end we're just as confused as the boys), it would be more captivating and work work on a cool level, but instead it just says "isn't this mysterious and unknowable?" and leaves it at that, which gives the movie a certain laziness (something found in all of Sofia Coppola's work, a lazy feel). In spite of these faults, however, it's entertaining to watch throughout and pretty smart and I really like it in spite of itself. It's just one of those movies that seems like it should be even smarter than it actually is.
Lost In Translation (2003) -- A very realistic movie about subject matter that's not covered too often: two people who under different circumstances would be very good for each other, and who painfully realize that they can't be together. A lesser movie would have them sleeping together or whatever, but this movie handles it -- again -- in a movie true-to-life way. All with a semi-happy ending.
Marie Antoinette (2006) -- For the first hour and twenty minutes, the only thing happening is everyone wondering whether Jason Schwartzman (Louis XVI) will sleep with his child bride Kirsten Dunst (Marie Antoinette). Eventually, he does. With the remaining forty minutes, two babies are born, she has an affair that comes and goes with no consequence, she spends a lot of money on frivolous things, a mob gets angry at her, and then the movie ends. Nothing (including the first hour twenty) amounts to anything. It seems like Sofia Coppola had the idea to do a period piece using 80s New Wave music and didn't think it much out from there. The script feels like it was written by glancing through Marie Antoinette's entry in the Wikipedia. Every actor in the movie looks uncomfortable, not knowing what Coppola expects of them. The only person who manages to offer any thread of any sort of story is Steve Coogan. The movie could have gone in many different directions and been interesting (Marie Antoinette as Paris Hilton type, Marie as "nature girl" in the confinements of civilization, an outsiders look at royalty, the feminist approach, France's role in the American revolution, etc. etc.), but instead went in all of them briefly and came out as nothing. At one point in the movie, I commented that if Rambo had walked in and mowed everyone down with an Uzi, it wouldn't have affected me any more than anything else that was bound to happen (or not happen) next.
Copyright (c) Oct 2003 - May 2007 by Rusty Likes Movies